Fishing Circumstances on the Danube in Serbia - page 2


The measures implemented by the new law have resulted in decreasing the number of commercial fishermen, while the number of recreational, sport fishermen and illegal and poaching activities have increased. The decreased presence of commercial fishermen may potentially aggravate the problem of illegal fishing and poaching. Therefore, strengthening the relationship between commercial fishermen and management authorities can serve as an effective control measure and compensate for the lack of adequate inspection and ranger control.

Catches from the Danube in 2010 were almost 30 percent higher then in the previous two years as shown in the Table 1.

In the last 10 years, fishermen were not required by law to report their catches. Since the number of commercial fishermen has decreased, and commercial fishing methods and equipment have not changed for years, the increase of the total catch can not be attributed to commercial fishing. It can be result of increasing number of recreational fishermen, as well as better, zealous submission of the catch data from user companies to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia.

Catchment of primarily economically important fish species was constant, while economical unimportant fish species decreased for three years period presented in Table 1. Initial assumption was that the increase in catch cause of growth of the total catch of fish from the Danube in 2010 actually reported greater amount of secondary important fish species caught by fishermen. However, when we compared the percentage representation of primary and secondary important fish species in the catch of the both commercial and recreational fishermen on the Danube River in Serbia in the years 2008, 2009, 2010 we didn't find significant differences in the percentage representation of two different categories of fish in the catches in these three years (Table 1).


Table 1: Amount of fish caught from the Danube River presented in total amount of catch (t), presented separately each year by both commercial and recreational fishing in (t) and catchments presented through percentage share of two different economical categories of the fish meat on the market (source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia)

Year Total catch (t) Primary economic. important fish species amount in the catch (t) % of primary ec. im. fish in commercial catch % of primary fish in recreational catch Secondary ec. im. fish   species amount in the catch (t) % of second. ec. im. fish in commercial catch % of second. ec. im. fish in recreational catch
2008 212882 62298 33.9 % 19.98 % 150584 66,1 % 80,02 %
2009 217131 510343 26.01 % 17.08 % 166097 73,99 % 82,92 %
2010 343661 830285 25.52 % 22.9 % 260632 74,48 % 77,1 %


Inland or freshwater fishery is an artisanal activity which provides essential food to local communities, despite relatively low contribution (6, 1%) on the world fish production level (Arce-Ibarra & Charles, 2008). Both commercial and recreational fishery in Serbia has a long tradition. Especially on Danube in Serbia commercial fishery has an artisanal character. Fishing is usually divided into professional (commercial), recreational and sports fishing. But fishing in Serbia can be divided into five categories: commercial fishing, recreational fishing, sport fishing (catch and release), illegal fishing (for example – when licensed recreational fishermen sell their catch or use unauthorised fishing methods or equipment, or catch fish during a ban), poaching – fishing without a license.

Regarding statistics, before 1990s almost entire catch has been redeemed by the authorised public companies. Price of fishing licence was equal to the price of 100 kg of first class fish and fishermen had economic motive to give their total catch to purchase. The reason for unreliable statistics of the catch after 1990s could be unorganised market and missing of redemption. Also, the cost of commercial fishing permits is extremely high and needs to be purchased at the beginning of each fishing year.

Fishing on the Danube in Serbia is in a process of transition toward a market economy (Lenhardt et al., 2006). According to Simonović (2010) in most transitional societies of South East Europe fall of the number of fish population was a result of increased influence of poaching and replacing the traditional fishing. Catch data available in the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia is questionable due to the fact that, for more than two decades, officially reported catch data may have been incomplete.

Successful fisheries management, along with regular analysis of fish catch statistics, can help maintain fish populations by reducing fishing pressure (Simonović, 2010).

In Serbia it is almost impossible to utilise the Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) due to unreliable statistics, poaching and black-market fishing. Further, fisheries management is influenced by the frequent political changes.